Program aims to improve access, outcomes for high-risk patients

By Sharon Worcester

CHICAGO — A novel project designed to improve care quality and access for high-risk, high-cost lupus patients at a university medical center is reducing the outpatient no-show rate, hospitalization rate, and hospital length of stay.

Source: 2018 ACR Annual Meeting, Abstract 1843

The center launched the project — known as IQ-LUPUS (Improve Quality in Low-Income, Underserved, Poor, Underprivileged, SLE patients)  — in September 2017, along with a rheumatology clinic in a local urban neighborhood, and early results demonstrate a reduction in the no-show rate from 12.1% in fiscal year 2017 to 9.7% in fiscal year 2018 among 54 high-risk, high-cost patients, Allen Anandarajah, MD, said during a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

Hospital admissions among those patients decreased from a total of 52 to 36 during the same time period, and total hospital days decreased from 231 to 159, said Dr. Anandarajah, a rheumatologist and director of the Early Arthritis Clinic at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center.

In this video interview he discusses the need for, challenges of, and benefits of IQ-LUPUS, along with tips for successful implementation at other centers and thoughts on the feasibility and potential cost savings of the program.

“We have done the math for them,” he said, explaining that not only is there a “huge benefit for patients,” but the potential savings for hospitals is substantial.

Dr. Anandarajah reported having no disclosures.

Sharon Worcester is a reporter with MDedge News.